When times get tough during an economic downturn, it may be time to regroup and formulate a strategy for saving money. Living frugally is a great way to stay within budget, but reconsidering career choices can also help make an impact on the way you save money. When I first left the corporate world I was excited about saving money on daycare, yet apprehensive about how — or even if — the whole idea would work. Creating a plan and setting goals is important for a smooth transition and overall success.
Grant Funding for Business Start-Ups
According to United States Census Bureau, 28 percent of all businesses in the United States are women-owned. If you lack the funding needed to start a business, grant opportunities may provide the seed money for your work-from-home enterprise. Grant opportunities exist for women looking to start a home-based business through the Amber Foundation, an organization which empowers women to start online, home-based or small businesses through grant awards of up to $1,000. If you are looking to leave the corporate workplace to be a stay-at-home mom, the American Association of University Women advocates education and equity for women. The AAUW may help fund new business start-ups or support women who are changing careers, providing grant recipients with awards ranging from $2,000 to $12,000.
Kids and Working from Home
The cost for child daycare nationwide can range from $500 to $1500 monthly. Averaging $650 per month for a day care provider can put a strain on family finances, and many moms want to have time with their children before they enter school full time. Becoming a work from home parent may sound daunting, especially if you will be the only adult home with the kids. Many parents find it easiest to schedule their work around nap time, or work at night when children are usually asleep. One way to ease into becoming a work from home mom is to begin doing freelance or contract work in your spare time, eventually building up your business until you can quit your day job.
Creating — and sticking to — a schedule is vital for anyone who works from home. In the same sense as employers provide breaks throughout the day, scheduling yourself for time away from your home office will provide time to clear your head, stretch your legs, and feel refreshed when you return to your work area. If your children have already entered school full time, working from home during the day is an option, but you may have to reconcile your schedule to school activities, carpooling, and sick kids. One way to do this is by creating a master-schedule, outlining activities, homework projects, sports or club events, and transportation needs. Write in your work hours around your family activities, and stick to it.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Many work from home moms face a dilemma when setting fees for their time. Freelance jobs like writing, completing contract work in editing web content, or providing a service outside the home, like house cleaning are all positions which can earn enough to live on, yet defining your fees can make or break your entry into the home-based arena. Before starting a work-from-home endeavor, research similar job titles online and find out how much other independent contractors are making for services similar to what you may provide. Create a plan a small business marketing strategy, and decide how you will gain visibility and business. It’s also important to figure out any home-based office or work space costs, the expenditure for any supplies that may be used in the course of the business day, and the amount you will need to reserve to pay taxes at the end of each year.
Overall, becoming a work from home mom can be a lucrative way to generate a full-time or part-time income, while being at home with your children. As with any business idea, developing a strategy, creating a business plan, and following through on maintaining a work schedule can help your business to flourish while saving money on daycare, and transportation to and from the workplace.
More from this contributor:
Social Media for Business: The Pope Can Tweet, Why Can’t You?
Small Business Marketing: Four Wallet-Wise Strategies
Relocating for Work: The Most Affordable Places to Live in Colorado
The American Association of University Women
U.S. Census Bureau; Survey of Business Owners; Women-owned Firms
Money Making Mommy